I was having a conversation with a friend the other day who was hesitant to step out into a new opportunity. I can see enormous potential in her to do an amazing job, but currently this new opportunity isn’t quite in her wheelhouse. She was feeling insecure and afraid of the task at hand.
It made me think about how often I also shy away from new prospects, mostly because I see myself weak in a particular area. I really don’t like to fail! I prefer to take on opportunities where I am confidant that I will succeed.
Because of this, I find it so easy for me to relate to Gideon (Judges 6-7). Gideon was an Israelite, living in a time when God’s people were being violently oppressed by the Midianites. In an amazing divine encounter, the angel of the Lord came to Gideon personally, greeting him with, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” He lays out a plan where Gideon will be the chosen one that God would use to deliver His people from their enemies.
Gideon replies, “Pardon me, my lord…..My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
Gideon worried that he didn’t have what it took. Even a face-to-face encounter with the angel of the Lord was not enough to convince him! He was so doubtful that he asked God to give him two signs which would “prove” that this divine calling was real (v. 36-40). God graciously answered his request.
Gideon was known for being the weakest of the weak. Even when he had a real life encounter with God, where God gave him an amazing opportunity, Gideon still doubted, and still asked God to “prove” to him that he really was chosen for this incredible mission!
That is so often how I see myself, as weak, and just like Gideon I often long for an amazing “sign” to prove that I really am supposed to do something. Sure, once in a while I might receive confirmation from the Lord, but most times it seems like God is looking for me to step out in faith and trust Him – without a sign.
As the story of Gideon continues, Scripture says that as he stepped out in faith, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet that called the men of Israel together to come and fight for their freedom. You can read the rest of the story of how God miraculously delivered His people! As fearful as he was at first, when the Holy Spirit came upon him, Gideon had the strength and the ability to take on and succeed at the task at hand.
With God all things are possible! And isn’t it amazing that, on this side of the cross, we have the Holy Spirit with us always – the same Spirit that led and empowered Gideon to succeed!
Even after Gideon had his army of men gathered together, God thought the army was too big – Israel might feel like their own strength and expertise was what delivered them (Jg 7:1-8). We know from the story most of the men were sent home, leaving only 300 men behind to fight an army of thousands upon thousands. God was setting the stage in such a way that only He and only He would receive the glory!
The LORD chose the weakest man from the weakest clan in the weakest tribe in Israel, and made sure that he had the weakest army – one that could not possible overcome the enemy. God wanted to show His strength and power – He wanted all the praise!
It’s unfortunate that our world (even our church world) loves strength and gifting so much. Because of that, we feel like people can only do things who are gifted, and we miss out on so much! We seem to have lost a love for weakness, which in Scripture is something that God uses over and over and over again to do amazing things! Within my life I have found that the areas where I am most successful are often the areas where I have the most insecurities!
Jesus said to the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Cor 12:9). When He said that, Paul’s response was, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me!”
Gideon knew this too, and eventually trusted that his own weakness and his insecurity didn’t matter at all when God was with him!